Supplier update
Assa Abloy acquires August Home
An August smart lock, now owned by Assa Abloy
An August smart lock, now owned by Assa Abloy
 
click for next slide
click for first slide
click for last slide
click for next slide
Melbourne workwear company sold to Portwest and a new look for GearWrench
HNN Sources
Old-guard lock company Assa Abloy bought smart lock startup August for an undisclosed amount; Portwest has reached an agreement to acquire a second workwear company in Australia; Brickworks has purchased the Urbanstone business; Husqvarna said its latest products are designed to make lawn and garden care more productive and intuitive for operators; Bunnings Group's venture into the UK is providing opportunities for Selleys; Milwaukee Tool has been awarded USD27.8 million in case against Snap-on; and TTI introduces portable generators with EFI technology.
Assa Abloy buys smart lock maker

Swedish lock conglomerate, Assa Abloy said it has signed an agreement to acquire August Home, a business that makes smart locks and smart home access products and services. Based in San Francisco, August Home primarily focuses on developing solutions for the DIY market.

According to Thanasis Molokotos, executive vice president of Assa Abloy and head of the Americas division, the acquisition of August Home will strengthen the company's residential product portfolio through the addition of smart locks, video doorbells and solutions for home delivery. He told Security Info Watch:
August is an entrepreneurial company that is innovating in the traditional lock space by enhancing access control through software and service experiences. It is a strong complement to our current focus.

In addition, Mr Molokotos said August Home is very synergistic with Assa Abloy's Yale brand.
August's focus is primarily the DIY channel with retrofit locks that offer an exceptional user and software experience. Through the Yale brand, Assa Abloy's focus is on full replacement locks that are connected and served by the professionally installed channel.

Founded by Jason Johnson and Yves Behar, August Home has developed three generations of smart door locks and two generations of video doorbells, placing them among the leaders in the smart home industry when it comes to technology, partnerships and retail sales. For example, the company has entered into recent partnerships with Amazon, Apple, Google, Nest and Airbnb.

This has helped to make August Home, which has seen lock sales increase by 300% year-over-year with more than 260 million lock operations and 500,000 users.

August raised USD25 million in July to help fund its recent launch of new, cheaper August Smart Lock Pro locks intended to make the high-tech gadgets more appealing to mainstream consumers.

When asked how August Home will be integrated into Assa Abloy, Mr Molokotos said that they will "jointly evaluate" their opportunities once the acquisition closes, which is expected to occur during Q4.
We believe keeping the August culture and leadership intact after acquisition is vital for success for all involved so we are excited Jason Johnson will remain and focus on implementing the vision.

Now in the arms of a bigger company, August will get more direct help to sell its products to the masses, the tradeoff being that it loses its independence as a more nimble startup. The acquisition also highlights the challenges consumer hardware startups face creating big-hit products that result in big enough sales to help them compete with much larger businesses.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Related:
Making house keys obsolete - HNN
Irish workwear firm expands in Australia

Wesport, Ireland-based safety clothing and protective equipment maker Portwest has spent EUR10 million buying another Australian company to expand its presence in this market.

Portwest said that due to a non-disclosure agreement, the name of the Melbourne business cannot be disclosed for the moment. Six months ago the firm acquired Australian company Prime Mover Workwear in a deal worth EUR7.5 million.

The second acquisition will more than double the Irish company's turnover in Australia and New Zealand to between EUR20 million and EUR25 million, which will represent about a tenth of its overall business. Brett Birkill, chief executive of Prime Mover, told the Irish Times:
This acquisition now follows on from the original acquisition six months ago. It catapults it to the next stage of growth.

Australia's buoyant construction industry made Portwest's additional investment sensible, while pushing further into this market would "help spread the load" of mitigating risk from Brexit, according Mr Birkill.

Trading since 1904, the company is being run by the third generation of the Hughes family, led by brothers Cathal, Harry and Owen Hughes. It has 2,100 employees and sells its products in 110 countries. CEO Harry Hughes said:
The company is working to a 5-year plan with a growth rate of 30% per year. Although all growth to date has been organic, acquisitions will play a more important part of future expansion. Our sights are firmly fixed on our new markets of US and Australia and we have an outstanding pipeline of new designs and innovations to drive this growth.

Related:
Workwear category dominated by UK player - HNN
Brickworks grows its masonry business

West Australian paving and masonry company, Urbanstone has been sold to Brickworks for $13.5 million. Family-owned Schaffer Corporation has divested the last of its building products assets with the sale of Urbanstone to Brickworks.

The deal does not include Urbanstone's land and buildings in WA, which will be occupied by Brickworks under a long-term lease with Schaffer Corp.

Schaffer executive chairman John Schaffer said the sale would allow the group to focus on its automotive leather business, its Delta precast division and its property investments.

Brickworks said Urbanstone was a logical bolt-on acquisition for its masonry business, providing additional scale and diversifying its product range and geographic exposure.

The sale is expected to generate an after-tax profit of $3.9 million for Schaffer, one of WA's oldest listed companies, having joined the stock market as Calsil in 1963.

Schaffer Corp made a net profit of $5.9 million last financial year on revenue of $215 million, including a break-even result from its building materials division on sales of $38 million.

The bulk of its revenue is derived from its automotive leather business, which supplies manufacturers including Nissan, Mercedes and Audi from plants in Australia, Slovakia and China.

Brickworks' portfolio includes Australia's largest bricks producer Austral Bricks, Austral Masonry, Bristile Roofing, Austral Precast and Auswest Timbers.
GearWrench unveils new brand identity

Apex Tools-owned GearWrench has a rebranding campaign. The company sees its new identity embodying the brand's commitment to excellence in manufacturing and innovation. The rollout involves every aspect of the GearWrench brand, including its logo, tagline, colour palette, typography, and product design.

The new Gearwrench logo, "Forge Ahead" communicates the brand's approach toward forward-thinking, according to the company. Ray Smith, vice-president - marketing, North American Hand Tools, said:
The GearWrench brand has grown remarkably over the past 20 years. We've undertaken this comprehensive new brand identity program to reflect that progress. This new visual identity will help communicate the high quality of our products, our customer-focused culture, and our commitment to innovation.

The logo it replaces has represented the brand since it appeared in 1996 when GearWrench introduced the first professional grade ratcheting combination wrench.

Looking forward, the company plans to continue expanding its redesigned product line. By the end of 2017, GearWrench said it plans to have 4,100 different products available for purchase.
Husqvarna demonstrates latest products

The annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) in Louisville, Kentucky positions itself as the largest trade show for the outdoor power equipment, lawn and garden equipment, light construction and landscape industries. Husqvarna introduced several new products at the recent 2017 event.

A new model for its Automower robotic mower series was presented, as well as additional products for the company's lineup of battery-powered range and new chainsaws and chainsaw accessories for professional landowners and farmers.

In 2018, the Automower 310 can serve 0.25 acres and slopes up to 22 degrees. This model also features "Connect from Home", its new connected Bluetooth functionality.

The Automower X-line will be introduced next year, which Husqvarna says makes the Automower Connect app standard for those models. This app allows owners to control the mower from their smartphone no matter where they are.

The app works for Android and iOS devices and lets owners receive their Automower's current status and change settings remotely. It also transmits the Automower's precise GPS-tracked location in the event of a theft.

Husqvarna said it will give its 400 e-series saws a full upgrade in 2018. The 435e, 440e, 445e, 450e and 450e Rancher chainsaws will all have improved start-ability through Smart Start for low rpm ignition, a slimmer saw body and flip-up tank cups, snap-lock cylinder covers and quick release air-filters.

Additionally, Husqvarna also introduced new saw accessories. The X-Cut SP33G is the company's first-ever chain designed, developed and manufactured from the materials to final product in its production facility in Sweden. The carefully engineered thickness of the chrome layer ensures a lasting sharpness and a high capacity, and the chain requires less power from the saw than the standard cutting systems.

Available with a 48- or 54-inch commercial ClearCut deck, Husqvarna says the V548 and V554 stand-on mowers provide excellent grass cutting and management. Its latest zero-turn mower series consists of 11 products, four Z500 models and seven Z500X models, ranging from the Z548 to the Z572X.

The company also announced a line of commercial zero-turn mower blades featuring Fisher Barton's laser edge cutting technology. Husqvarna says these blades feature long-lasting sharpness, reducing downtime for lawn care professionals and increasing cut quality and fuel efficiency.

With its new BLi100, BLi200, BLi300 batteries, Husqvarna introduced a new line of lithium-ion technology that will replace the current models. The company says these offer faster charge times (50-80 minutes), higher capacities and 100Wh, 200Wh and 300Wh respectively.
Selleys sees UK opportunities

The Selleys brand is working with Anthem Worldwide (Australia) to help break into DIY market in the UK with the latest revamp of its brand and packaging, tailoring it towards the British consumer.

While Selleys is relatively unknown in UK and competing in a category with many established brands, the extreme Australian weather conditions provides strong credentials for Australian brands claiming superior strength and performance. However, with up to 40% of consumers walking away from shelves empty-handed, understanding how customers navigate this category was the focus of Selleys' launch. Ami Heath, account director, Anthem Worldwide (Australia) told Build.com.au:
Entering such a category as an unknown brand provides both great challenges and opportunities. While brand awareness and trust will always take time to gain traction, opportunities such as this are rare - to be able to reassess norms and provide customers with a fresh approach to old category problems. Targeting both unconfident and confident DIY-ers, we really needed to use design carefully to both appeal to the new British consumer, as well as respect 75 years of Selleys' proud heritage.

Creative director, Marcel Wijnen added:
Addressing an age-old category problem of intolerable clutter, we took a bold new iconography-led approach to differentiate from competitors who mostly led with technology cues.

Paired with a strategic use of colour, the new range significantly simplifies the packaging hierarchy, greatly improving range navigation. This straightforward approach still pays homage to Selleys' no-fuss Aussie persona, but allowed the brand to also unify the range and complement it with a newly refreshed Selleys brandmark.
Snap-on to appeal patent suit

Tool maker Snap-on said it will appeal a US federal court's verdict that awarded Milwaukee Electric Tool (not to be confused with the Techtronic Industries-owned Milwaukee brand) nearly USD28 million in a patent-infringement lawsuit.

The federal lawsuit, filed three years ago in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, involves three Milwaukee Tool patents for battery packs used with cordless power tools.

The Journal Sentinel reports that Rick Secor, director of corporate communications at Snap-on said the company strongly disagrees with the jury's verdict and will "vigorously appeal."

In the lawsuit, Milwaukee Tool said the lithium-ion battery packs it invented greatly changed the industry after being introduced in 2005. The technology replaced packs that used nickel-cadmium batteries. A spokesman for Milwaukee Tool said:
The introduction of Lithium-Ion technology to the professional power-tool industry was groundbreaking and resulted in multiple patents for our company that we continue to aggressively defend. [The] jury verdict by the federal court affirms Milwaukee Tool's leadership in new-to-world technology in cordless tools for the trades.

Milwaukee Tool asserted in its lawsuit that "no other technology could offer the combination of high power, light weight and compact size made possible by Milwaukee Tool's inventions."

The lawsuit contends Snap-on infringed on Milwaukee Tool's patents when the company made lithium-ion battery packs for Snap-on tools. But Snap-on argued in court filings leading up to the trial that Milwaukee Tool's claims were invalid because Canadian battery maker E-One Moli Energy had actually developed the technology and brought it to Milwaukee Tool. Moli eventually gave up its patent ownership rights in 2006 and established a license agreement with Milwaukee Tool.

"Snap-on does not believe, that there was anything inventive about using a Li-ion cell in a high-powered cordless tool battery pack. But assuming...there is an invention here, Moli conceived of it, and not (Milwaukee Tool)," Snap-on attorneys wrote in seeking a summary judgment.

The jury hearing the case concluded that it was more likely than not that Snap-on's lithium-ion battery packs infringe on Milwaukee Tool's patents. It determined the award was a "reasonable royalty" after determining Snap-on had likely willfully violated elements of three different Milwaukee Tool patents.

Milwaukee Tool's victory in its lawsuit alleging patent infringement was not surprising, said Scott Hansen, one of the lawyers who represented the company.
The amount was fairly based on the amount of Snap-on's infringing sales.

He noted that the jury deemed the infringement willful. That finding, Mr Hansen said, allows the court to increase the damages Snap-on could have to pay by up to three times the amount of the jury's award.
TTI portable generators with EFI technology

Techtronic Industries Power Equipment (TTI) said it is bringing closed-loop electronic fuel injection (EFI) technology to its Ryobi branded line of portable generators.

EFI technology has been used extensively in the automotive and houseboat industries as an environmentally responsible advancement in engine technology. TTI is introducing the performance enhancing advantages of EFI technology to its product lineup.

The new EFI engine option is featured on the RY907000FI model generator and provides up to 20% greater fuel savings, compared to a standard carburetted engine while also improving starting and performance at all elevations. Most significantly, the on-board electronic engine management system greatly reduces Carbon Monoxide (CO) exhaust emissions emitted from the engine. Lee Sowell, president of TTI Power Equipment Outdoor Products division, said:
The most effective way to mitigate the potential for CO related injury is to first address the hazard at the source by lowering the amount of CO produced. This new engine technology being applied to portable generators has the potential to save lives and prevent countless injuries...

TTI began production of the Ryobi model RY907000FI generator in September 2017.
HNN Sources


Bookmark permalink


Subscribe to HNN weekly e-newsletter